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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Review: Atræ Bilis – Divinihility

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records

Date: August 14th, 2020

It may be expected that a debuting band lacks any sort of in-depth biography one could use for further investigation. Basic information, for now, is quite appropriate. However, what a reviewer can find about Atræ Bilis online is the vast amount of news and reviews. Then you take your investigation to the label’s presentation and you find a bunch of different versions of the record up for grabs. Seriously, there’s seven different options for you to pick from if you decide to order “Divinihility”. And remember, we’re talking about a debut recording! Talk about some serious belief in the band’s capabilities. Certainly raised my hopes up high. Quoting Aerosmith, “Just push play”…

Before you get me wrong, Atræ Bilis has nothing to do with Aerosmith. Well, they do use guitar, bass, drums, vocals… And they come from the same continent. But that’s about it.

The Canadian quartet performs death metal. Somewhat unusual, but death metal nonetheless. They themselves call it “dissonant death metal”. As this is the first time for me to come across such a description, I will try to dissolve it further and examine.

First of all, I find this release quite rhythmically oriented. And not just because there are a whole lot of rhythm changes throughout. Even in the guitar work you might experience a lot of rhythm. Breaking such patterns, Atræ Bilis goes for added layers of guitar harmonies. That’s probably where the “dissonance” comes from, as it recalls the recent (mostly) European tendencies in black metal. Now, let us not forget the obligatory down-tuned brutality which emerges over the technical abilities. When it comes to the sheer brutality of the genre, I would call upon Incantation. The slower, more atmospheric parts do carry within them the heavy impact Incantation produces. Also, “Divinihility” is highly technical, starting from drumming diversity through mentioned guitar work, all the way to arrangements. Still, Atræ Bilis’ technical prowess doesn’t go above all. Forget about Deeds of Flesh’s kind of blowing everything out of proportion. It is obvious they took special care to make the individual tracks stand on their own. There are moments when songs simply jump out straight to your face. From out of nowhere seemingly. Unpredictable nature of the EP is a definite strong point, though it does not go beyond certain boundaries. The songs remain fairly catchy, even if the arrangements are far from straight forward. In other words, “Divinihility” is dynamic instead of being a simple showcase of musicianship.

Perhaps if the release lasted longer that these 22 minutes, it would lose the punch it carries, but that is for the band’s future to prove or disprove. For now, with an EP instead of an album, the release is retains its attractiveness. It’s not quite a “must have”, as I’m sure there’s more to Atræ Bilis than it is portrayed on “Divinihility”. On the other hand, the EP does reveal a glimpse of the road death metal can take in order to evade simplification and repetitiveness.